In this process of being a photographer for the Columbia City Ballet, I have learned a few things. The first, of course, is the time an effort that these dancers give to become professional dancers. Being a professional dancer does one of two things. It provides quality entertainment for everyone. From children to grown professional adults, the ballet has become a past time that all can appreciate and enjoy. The ballet also preserves the arts for generations to come. Have you ever thought about that?
Think about it. These dancers are preserving an art form that was created hundreds of years ago. There were no video recorders or phones back then to record these movements. These movements were recorded by people that took great effort to memorize them, and then teach them to the next generation. This passing of this art down from generation to generation, has allowed us today to witness stories that were told before television and movies. Live action drama and romance are played out in front of the audience to music, in a way that evokes pure emotion from our soul. To be able to leap and spin like they do is something that we all would love to do. And, it is this dedication that preserves this art form for all to come. But, this passion for the dance comes at with a cost.
This cost that I am speaking of is not only a physical taxing on the body, but on the pocket books as well. A wonderful photographer friend of mine and professional dancer with the ballet, Ashley Concannon, once showed me a picture that she took. This picture sat me beside myself because it evoked that raw emotion that every photographer tries to capture. It was of a dancer’s feet after she had taken her pointe shoes off. The toes were so mangled and bloody that I almost forgot that I was looking at the toes of a lady. It reminded me of my Taekwon-Do training days in Charleston, SC. After practice, I would have these quarter size blisters on the bottom of my feet. You always got used to them until you stepped into the shower, and then you were painfully reminded that they were there. It is hard to believe it sometimes, but these dancers live with that pain too.
In ballet, the delicate feet of a dancer are forced into this small unassuming shoe that has a cup over the toes. This cup helps support the feet when the dancers go up on pointe. Although it is very beautiful to see, it is not very wonderful to feel. And, as with all other things in life, these shoes don’t last forever. These dancers go through an average of 18-25 shoes per season. That is around $2000 dollars per 6 months, per dancer. How much do you spend a year on shoes to do what it is that you do? That is why these dancers need our help. That is why there is the need for the Pointe Shoe Campaign. It is an effort to raise funding for these dancers to continue to do what they do. You would never want professional football players to go out without the right equipment, so why should these dancers?
Help support the Columbia City Ballet, by going to their website and contributing to their Pointe Shoe Campaign. Your contributions help preserve the arts for the next generation, and the generations to come after that. 🙂